Straight to the point

Samantha Tosado

Alcohol and drugfree lifestyle of Kent State student offers perspective to ‘straight edge’ lifestyle

Patrick Burke, senior history major, talked yesterday in the College Democrats office about his straight-edge lifestyle. Burke, who is vice president of the College Democrats, decided to become straight-edge at the age of 13. GAVIN JACKSON | DAILY KENT ST

Credit: Dan Kloock

It praises morals and self-respect.

It’s a choice to live alcohol and drug-free, and for some, it’s more than a label.

Being ‘straight edge’ is a lifestyle, and it’s one that senior history major Patrick Burke knows well.

“About mid-way through high school I discovered I was straight edge,” he said. “I never did anything that has been against the straight edge lifestyle.”

Burke said he has never had a drop of alcohol, and he plans to keep it that way.

“If people know me personally, they know I’m already crazy enough without alcohol.”

Not only does Burke choose to be straight edge, but he is also a vegan and chooses to be straight edge for health issues.

“I don’t want to jeopardize my health. I get sick a lot less,” he said. “I remember stuff way better. I can also get up in the morning a lot easier. Overall, I just feel a lot healthier.”

Burke said he does other things to keep himself busy while others partake in the party scene.

“I do things that most people do — just without alcohol or drugs,” he explained. “I love hockey. I play hockey. I do go to bars and go to parties to hang out my friends (just) minus the drinking part.”

One of Burke’s main concerns is looking after his friends’ safety when going out to a party or bar.

“I’m usually the DD, but my friends don’t take advantage. My friends buy me food and Shirley Temples when they’re drunk, so it’s more like I take advantage of them,” he joked.

Whatever motivations people find, a change in the straight edge lifestyle of their friends are sometimes seen with animosity. In Burke’s case, however, things seem to be different.

“The majority of my friends drink. One clique of my friends is straight edge, but 90 percent of them are not,” he said.

Burke said that back home his friends don’t have a problem with it and are very respectful toward his straight edge ethics.

“I buy beer for my friends all the time after the hockey games,” Burke said. “I just don’t drink.”

Even though his friends seem to not mind, outsiders don’t seem to agree with Burke’s “anti” behavior.

“I don’t judge people about the way they live, but people tend to judge me in the end,” he said. “It’s a terrible thing. People give me a bad name for it.”

Burke said he doesn’t mind the label. Instead, he looks at it in a positive light.

“You either love it or you don’t. I personally like the label. I want to promote my lifestyle.”

Burke explained that he just wants to live his life, and he doesn’t use his opinions to justify anyone else’s.

“I’m not preachy about it. I’m not in your face about it. I don’t expect people to be straight edge,” he said. “I just live my life normally.”

Contact features reporter Samantha Tosado at [email protected].